- Banking & Finance
- Employment & Unemployment
- Future of Work
- Gender at Work
- Gig Economy
- Industry & Sector Policies
- Infrastructure & Construction
- Insecure & Precarious Work
- Labour Standards & Workers' Rights
- Population & Migration
- Public Sector, Procurement & Privatisation
- Science & Technology
- Social Security & Welfare
- Tax, Spending & the Budget
- Unions & Collective Bargaining
- Wages & Entitlements
- Young Workers
- Climate & Energy
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The gigification of care is creating insecure work, undermining gender inequality and damaging workforce sustainability.
Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Education and Employment
As tertiary education has become increasingly essential to employment outcomes, financial security, and meeting the demands of the future economy, the importance of affordable or free tertiary education increases. Instead, education is getting more expensive. Tuition fees have increased significantly since their introduction, and debts are growing and taking longer to repay. The context of
The Times They Aren’t A-Changin (enough)
This report examines the barriers to closing the gender gap by reviewing Australia’s position within the industrial countries of the OECD. The report also uses data from the ABS and the ATO to highlight gender disparities across all levels of income, ranges of occupation and ages, as well as disparities regarding who undertakes the greater
Working With COVID: Insecure Jobs, Sick Pay, and Public Health
Almost one in five Australians (and a higher proportion of young workers) acknowledge working with potential COVID symptoms over the course of the pandemic, according to new opinion research published by the Centre for Future Work. The research confirms the public health dangers of Australia’s existing patchwork system of sick leave and related entitlements. The main
Educating for Care
This report from the Carmichael Centre argues that Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services should be treated as a strategic industry of national importance – not just a ‘market’, and not just a ‘cost’ item on government budgets.
At the Crossroads
If the federal government lifts annual higher education spending to 1% of GDP, it could repair the destruction inflicted by the COVID pandemic and make universities more accessible and affordable for all Australians, according to new research from the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute.
The Economic Benefits of High-Quality Universal Early Child Education
Expanded ECEC services would provide a badly-needed boost to Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
Fragmentation & Photo-Ops
Strong vocational education and training (VET) systems are vital to the success of dynamic, innovative economies and inclusive labour markets. Australia’s VET system once provided well-established and dependable education-to-jobs pathways, but a combination of policy vandalism and fiscal mismanagement plunged the VET system into a lasting and multidimensional crisis.
International COVID-19 Income Supports: An Update
The COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted global labour markets, and exposed long-standing gaps in social protection systems. Governments around the industrialised world injected hundreds of billions of dollars into a range of unprecedented crisis measures: to support individuals who lost work, to subsidise employers to retain workers despite the fall-off in business, and to facilitate workers to stay away from work when required for health reasons. More recently, as the pandemic progressed and vaccination became widespread, governments have begun considering how to transition toward a post-COVID policy stance.
The Future of Work in Journalism
Information industries have lost some 60,000 jobs in Australia in the last 15 years, almost half during the COVID-19 pandemic. And a new research report highlights the need for active policy supports to stabilise the media industry, and protect the public good function of quality journalism.
Shock Troops of the Pandemic
New research confirms that workers in casual and insecure jobs have borne the lion’s share of job losses during the COVID-19 pandemic – both the first lockdowns in 2020, and the more recent second wave of closures. Since May, workers in casual and part-time jobs have suffered over 70% of job losses from renewed lockdowns and
Post-COVID-19 policy responses to climate change: beyond capitalism?
A sustainable social, political and environmental response to the “twin crises” of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change will require policymaking beyond capitalism. Only by achieving a post-growth response to these crises can we meaningfully shape a future of jobs in renewable-powered industries shaped by organised labour, democratic values and public institutions. Anything less will merely create more markets and more technocratic fixes that reinforce the growing social and environmental inequalities that our current political system cannot overcome.
An Avoidable Catastrophe
Australia’s universities were uniquely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and recession — including the closure of borders to most international students, the implementation of new COVID-safe instruction practices, and effective exclusion from Commonwealth support programs like JobKeeper.
Family & Domestic Violence Leave Review (AM2021/55)
As one of its first legislative acts, the new Commonwealth government is proposing to provide 10 days of paid leave for victims of family and domestic violence, as a right enshrined in Australia’s National Employment Standards. This will provide victims of FDV with important economic security as they work to address or escape their situations. Access to such leave has been shown to be effective in reducing the subsequent incidence of violence, and assisting victims and their families in rebuilding their lives.
Creativity in Crisis: Rebooting Australia’s Arts and Entertainment Sector After COVID
Culture is an inescapable part of what it means to be human. We can no more imagine a life without the arts than we can imagine a life without language, custom, or ritual. Australia is home to the oldest continuing cultural traditions on the planet, and some of the world’s most renowned actors, musicians and
Industrial Policy-Making After COVID-19: Manufacturing, Innovation and Sustainability
As Treasurer during the 1980s, Paul Keating lamented that Australian governments had for decades been allowing the country’s sophisticated industrial base to fall apart as unsophisticated raw materials came to dominate the nation’s exports and as a result, its economy slipped into developing-world status. Keating’s famous warning of Australia’s looming ‘banana republic’ status spurred the Hawke and subsequent Keating Labor governments into action on economic restructuring, which included considering a range of industry policy intervention options to put Australia on a track to advanced, industrial status, as had been the aim of post-war nation-building that helped to institute an advanced manufacturing industrial base in Australia.
Briefing Paper: Women’s Casual Job Surge Widens Gender Pay Gap
This briefing note presents data on the gendered composition of the employment recovery since May. It shows women’s jobs returned on a more part-time and casualised basis than for men, and that the influx of women’s lower-earning jobs widened the gender pay gap between May and November 2020. While women were more likely to lose
2020 Year-End Labour Market Review: Insecure Work and the Covid-19 Pandemic
Australia’s labour market experienced unprecedented volatility during 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting recession. In the first part of the year, employment declined faster and more deeply than in any previous economic downturn, as workplaces were closed to control the spread of infection. Then, after May, employment rebounded strongly. The subsequent recovery has replaced over 80% of the jobs lost in the initial downturn. While considerable ground remains to be covered to complete the employment recovery, the turn-around in the quantity of work has been encouraging.
Work and Life in a Pandemic
2020 marks the twelfth annual Go Home on Time Day, an initiative of the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute that shines a spotlight on overwork among Australians, including excessive overtime that is often unpaid.
The Choices We Make
New research by the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work analyses the economic effects of COVID-19 on Tasmania, and suggests how Tasmania can ‘build back better’ out of the COVID-19 crisis, making key recommendations to help Tasmania avoid the mistakes made at the Federal level. Ahead of Tasmania’s State Budget, set to be delivered on 12 November 2020, in this new report the Centre for Future Work has explored what the shape of Tasmania’s economy could look like, and how it can recover and reconstruct after this pandemic.
Pay Equity in Community Services
The failure of the Commonwealth to confirm that it will maintain funding for community service organisations could threaten up to 12,000 jobs in that sector, at a moment when those services are critical to Australia’s pandemic-damaged economy. That’s the conclusion of new research on the economic importance of Commonwealth pay equity funding, conducted by the
The Robots are NOT Coming
Startling new research from the Centre for Future Work has shown that Australia’s economy is now regressing in its use of new technology, with negative implications for productivity, incomes, and job quality.
An Investment in Productivity and Inclusion
The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in an era of unprecedented disruption and transition. Increased public investment in the skills and earning capabilities of Australians will be critical to our post-pandemic recovery.
A Fair Share for Australian Manufacturing
New research from the Centre for Future Work reveals that Australia ranks last among all OECD countries for manufacturing self-sufficiency. The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded Australians of the importance of being able to manufacture a full range of essential equipment and supplies; and the COVID recession has created a large economic void that a revitalised manufacturing sector could help to fill in coming years.
Participating in growth: Free childcare and increased participation
The provision of free childcare provides the rarest of economic policy opportunities – it’s both an effective form of fiscal stimulus in the short term and has the capacity to boost the long-term participation rate and, in turn, the long run rate of economic growth.
Log of Extraordinary IR Measures During COVID-19 Shutdowns
COVID-19 containment measures have suspended large sections of the economy. Governments have committed over $220 billion in income supports to workers and firms. The $130 billion JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme is the most extensive “shock absorber” (with worrying exclusions of many casual and migrant workers). With the scheme now in place, assessment of the government’s COVID-19 measures is now shifting to implementation. This includes effects on the laws and regulations governing wages and how businesses and employees (and their unions) interact to determine the terms and conditions of employment.
Working From Home: Opportunities and Risks
With many regular workplaces shut down to ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19, millions of Australians are now shifting their work to home. Home work has great potential to cushion the economic blow of the pandemic: allowing many to keep working and earning an income, and many firms and industries to continue at least partial production. But there are also many challenges and risks associated with this major shift in work patterns. Much of the increase in home work will likely become permanent, even after the immediate health emergency passes. That makes it crucial to ‘get home work right’: providing home workers with appropriate support and protections, and preventing abuse and exploitation as home work becomes more common.
The Same Mistake Twice
New research from the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work reveals the consequences of freezing public service pay, both for public sector workers and for the broader economy.
Catalogue of International Initiatives to Support Workers through COVID-19
The Australian government has pushed back against introducing needed measures to support workers in casual, self-employed, or gig positions during the unprecedented labour market turmoil resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Other countries, however, are moving quickly with unprecedented measures to support jobs and incomes for all workers – including those in non-standard employment – to ensure they can take necessary time away from work, and do not lose their livelihoods as a result of the virus. We have assembled a catalogue of international initiatives aimed at achieving these dual outcomes.
Gender Inequality in Australia’s Labour Market: A Factbook
While women have made some progress in closing the wage gap and other dimensions of gender inequality in Australia, they still face daunting and persistent barriers to their full participation and compensation in Australia’s economy.
That’s the conclusion from a new factbook on gender economic inequality in Australia, released by the Centre for Future Work to coincide with International Women’s Day on 8 March.